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Response of Lake Mar Chiquita (Argentina) to climate change: data analysis and application of a lake-catchment model

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Magali Troin, Christine Vallet-Coulomb, Florence Sylvestre, Eduardo Piovano
Magali Troin (1), Christine Vallet-Coulomb (1), Florence Sylvestre (1), Eduardo Piovano (2) (1) CEREGE UMR6635, CNRS/IRD/UPCAM, Europôle méditerranéen de l’Arbois BP 80 13545 Aix-en- Provence cedex 4 (2) Centro de Investigaciones Geoquímicas y de Procesos de Superficie (CIGeS), Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Av. Velez Sarsfield 1611, X5016GCA – Córdoba, Argentina.

Keyword(s): Lake, Argentina, Climate change, hydrological modeling
AbstractLake Mar Chiquita (30°54’S-62°51’W) is a highly variable closed saline lake located in the Pampean plains of central Argentina, an extensive area of forests and grassland, located at the west of the Parana-Plata Basin. Its terminal position, collecting streamflows from a 37,570 km2 catchment, induces an amplified response to hydro-climatic variations. During the important hydrological changes that occurred during the 70’s in South America, the lake has undergone a huge water-level rise. Historical and instrumental data, combined with sediment core studies (sedimentological, isotopic, and diatom analysis) have shown that Mar Chiquita is a good recorder of high- and low -frequency changes in hydrological budget. Therefore, this lake can be considered as a regional and temporal integrator of its catchment water balance. In this context, a modelling approach is used to simulate the lake response (level and salinity) to climate and environmental changes. The objectives of this work are (1) to provide a quantified climatic interpretation of lake variations reconstructed for the last centuries, (2) to help understanding the magnitude and mechanisms of the past changes and (3) to evaluate the hydrological response of the lake-catchment system to expected future changes. The lake response to climate and environmental changes includes both hydrological rainfall -runoff processes occurring in the lake catchment, and the specific hydrological behaviour of the lake system, related to the order of magnitude of each water balance component. Therefore, a rainfall-runoff model will be coupled with a lake model. A particular attention will be paid to identify the potential impact of soil use and agricultural practices (e.g. irrigation) on hydrological changes to discriminate between climatic and anthropogenic forcing.
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